Owen and Amelia Have Moved Away To England

As the mother of a son, you have to go into grandmotherhood with a little secret tucked into the back of your mind. That secret is, that if he gets married, and has children, love up on them as much as you can, because if something happens in his marriage, and his wife leaves, you may never see your grandchildren again. 

Amelia amid the daffodils in England. March 2017

I’m not here today to point fingers, or to place blame on either one of them, my son or my ex-daughter-in-law. What happened in their marriage, in their home, between them, is not my story to tell. In fact, it is all none of my business and I know it. What IS my story, is that I have called myself the Fabgrandma for more than 10 years, and now that two of my grandchildren have been removed from my life, I feel like a fraud as a grandma. Even though I love those little ones so much that my heart may never heal, I still feel like I am not a good enough grandmother to be called FAB.

Owen March 2017

Even though there are four other grandchildren that still live close by me, and I try to see them when I can, my heart just hurts more when I see them. I guess it’s because the older two, Michael and Sarah, have lost their little brother and sister. I know that Sarah is heartbroken too. And, Spencer and Parker have lost their cousins. By the time they get grown up, they may not even remember their names, much less what they look like.

My little English schoolgirl, Amelia March 2017 

My ex-daughter-in-law left back in May, I’m not sure of the date. I know it was after Easter last year, because I was planning a big family dinner and Easter Egg Hunt at my house. They didn’t come, and I was so disappointed. I haven’t seen Owen and Amelia since before Easter 2016. I was not give the opportunity to say goodbye to them, and that was a big big hurt. 

Owen March 2017

So, one day in December I went to the mailbox, and there was a Christmas card postmarked from England. There was no return address, and no personal message written in the card. Their mother had signed both Owen’s and Amelia’s names to the card, even though they both can write their names. I was so stunned to get that card after so long a time, months long, that it was like a sharp knife plunged into my heart. I cried every time I looked at it.  

Owen with his fan on the bus March 2017

Then, a while later, I received another envelope with a postmark from England, and no return address. Inside the envelope were two hand made Christmas ornaments. One was signed on the back, again in their mother’s handwriting, Owen. The other, Amelia. There was no letter, no scrap of paper in the envelope, to tell me what these were, that they missed me, that they love me, nothing. I have received nothing since then. 

It is really hard to feel like a granny, a grandmother, much less a fabgrandma, when I don’t hear from my little loves. It’s hard to try to think about what they are doing, where they go to school, if they are making good grades, if they have accomplished big things, when I don’t even get to hear about it. I am missing out of their lives. More so, they are missing out on having a grandma. 

The pictures in this post were sent to my son, and he sent them to me. I don’t know why I am cut out of their lives entirely. Have any of you had this happen to you? Mothers of sons, wrap your heart tightly to your grands. 

May Day May Day

My son Seth at 3 months old

My son Seth at 3 months old

Today I am celebrating my son Seth. He was not always an easy child to raise, but he has always been a good  and loving son. I used to tell people he could hear the sun hit the window in the morning, because he was up every day at the crack of dawn, even if he didn’t go to bed until two in the morning.

Seth on his first birthday

Seth on his first birthday

By the time he was a year old, he was walking and into everything, just like every other baby. But he was also inquisitive, taking things apart to see what made them work. He asked for an alarm clock and an aquarium for his fourth birthday. He took that alarm clock apart and put it back together just to see if he could. Then he took a picture of two boys on a raft off the wall and put in the aquarium, because rafts belong in the water, Mom.

1973 11 seth age 2 school picHe could read at two years old. I found that out because we were watching a game show together called “Concentration”, where contestants had to pick two squares to turn around and match a prize that was on the back of them, in order to solve a puzzle and win all the prizes they had collected in the process. When both of the chosen squares turned around, they said “Cat Food” on them. Before the announcers on TV said anything, Seth said “CAT FOOD! Why would anyone want to win Cat Food?”

Hunting with his Dad at 13

Hunting with his Dad at 13

My son grew up doing all the things most boys his age do, like playing baseball and football, and going hunting and fishing. He quit going hunting, though, after he actually shot a deer, because he didn’t like the way it made him feel to kill an animal.

This boy child of mine never did well in school. I really think he would have been labeled as ADHD if he had been tested back then. He was found to have a genius IQ but did not apply himself at all. And it was not for lack of me trying. By the time he got to high school, I was just exhausted from trying do all the things that teachers and school counselors suggested for all those years. He quit school when he was 16, and went to work at a grocery store. He went through a string of jobs until 1994. No, this boy was not easy to parent.

Graduation from Boot Camp

Graduation from Boot Camp

Seth joined the air force in 1994 and went to boot camp at Lackland AFB in San Antonio, Texas. He went to tech school in Witchita Falls, and then had his first duty station back at Lackland. He spent about three years total in Texas, where he was on the volunteer color guard, and attended many funerals for retired service personnel. He was on the tarmack with President Clinton landed at Lackland.

Seth and MIchael in 1996

Seth and Michael in 1996

Seth and his wife have four children. Michael, the oldest of my grandchildren, was born in San Antonia. Sarah was born in Guam, and Owen and Amelia were born in Maryland where they live now. They will probably stay in Maryland until September 2014, when Seth will retire from the Air Force.

Seth in uniform

Seth in uniform

Seth has been in the Air Force for nearly 18 years now, and has traveled all over the world. He spent time in Texas, Guam, England, and Andrews AFB. I him so much, and am very proud to be his mother.

Oh, Now This Is Too Sweet!

I know I just made you look at Amelia yesterday, but OH. MY. Goodness! Look at this:

Miss Amelia turns 1 year old

If you think that is a good photo, just listen to this: My son made the #1, and my daughter in law and her friend took the photo in their garage, using a sheet as the backdrop. How smart is that? I think they did a fabulous job of it, and saved a ton of money too! Good job, Seth, Sarah, and Jennifer.

That’s My Boy!

Seth in 2004

I don’t write about  my son very often, but that does not mean that I don’t love him just as much as I love my girls. It’s just that he doesn’t talk much, and writes less frequently than he calls. He is married to Sarah, and he is the father of Michael, Sarah, Owen and Miss Amelia. He gave Ameila my middle name when she arrived on my birthday, and that made me cry. Happy cry, of course.

Seth in uniform

He has been in the Air Force for going on 17 years now, another thing that makes me really proud of him. He has been stationed in Texas, Guam, England, and now at Andrews AFB. We don’t get to see each other very much at all–the last time I saw him was in March.

Because our family is so spread out, I asked each of my children to make a wish list on Amazon. Seth’s wish list has cracked me up, but it has also given me much pleasure, because I can see from what he has on there that he remembers things I did for him when he was a little guy.

For instance, on his very first Christmas, I gave him a Curious George monkey and one of those stuffed gorillas with a plastic banana in its hand. And look at this stuff from his wish list:

That’s Not My Monkey (Usborne Touchy-Feely Books)

Super Stretch Screaming Flingshot Flying Monkey

Tub Tattoos: Monkeys

When he was a few years older, we lived in a house that was under the landing pattern for a small local airport. The planes flew so low over our house that you could read the letters on their tires. One day my son asked me where they were going, so we got in the car and drove over to a hill across the road from the airport and watched them land. That became a weekly activity. My son has been in love with airplanes ever since. The evidence is right here:

E-Sky 4CH USB Flight Simulator Training Kit For RC Airplanes and R/C Helicopters

Revell B17G Flying Fortress 1:48 Scale

Revell Corsair F4U-4 1:48 Scale

When he was 13, he loved to watch The Frugal Gourmet on TV. And whenever I bought a new cookbook, I would often find him in the kitchen trying out new recipes. Evidently he still loves to cook:

Farberware Classic Stainless Steel 10-Piece Cookware Set

Tovolo Red Melamine Colander

Trudeau Melamine Mixing Bowls, Set of 3

He has always had a warped sense of humor: who else would put these things on their wish list?

Liquid Ass 1 Ounce Bottle Spray Mist

Pull My Finger Fart Finger Pen

Fart Whistle

But the one thing on his wish list that makes my heart go pitter patter? This:

Love Your Mother. Bumper Sticker

p.s. yes, there are affiliate links to Amazon. But I still love this wish list.

My New Fab Granddaughter

Amelia Summer Gail

Until today, I had four grandchildren–Michael, Sarah, Spencer, and Owen. Three Fab Grandsons, and one Fab Granddaughter. Every time one of my children and their spouse announced that they would be having a new baby, I always said, “You know if you have a girl, you will have to name her after me!” I never really expected that to happen, but a grandma can ask, right?

Amelia and her Mummy, Sarah

This morning, at 12:45 a.m., in a hospital in Maryland, Amelia Summer Gail Parson entered the world. She weighed in at 8 lbs, 13 oz. She is the pride and joy of my son, Seth and his lovely wife, Sarah. And, she shares MY birthday. They called me last night to tell me they were on the way to the hospital. The last time I talked to them was at about 11:45 p.m. Maryland time. Sarah said she was only dilated to 5 cm, so they didn’t expect the baby to arrive any time soon. I told them I had to get up early to go to work, and asked that they just text me, so I would know when I got up whether or not she had been born.

Amelia and her Daddy, Seth

This morning, I called, and Sarah told me Miss Amelia was born just an hour after I last talked to her. She told me there were pictures posted on Facebook, so while I was talking to her, I signed on to look. And that is when I discovered that they HAD named this baby after me. I got so choked up I could barely speak. And my eyes started leaking. My son said that since she was born on my birthday, she had to have my name.  Her “middle middle ” name, Gail is my middle name. What a wonderful birthday surprise–not only does she share my birthdate, she shares my name as well!

I Love A Vacation!

Our vacation started out with a drive to Birmingham to the VA Eye Clinic for FabGrandpa’s one week post-op check up. Everything looked fine–the doctor said to just keep using the eye drops until they were gone. After the check-up, we headed on over to Georgia.

We checked in at the Holiday Inn, our home away from home for the next week. Got settled in, then I went to pick up our granddaughter. We had a giggley spend the night party that night, with her telling us about her friends, her school, things she likes to do, and things she likes to eat. I think we got to sleep finally at around mid-night.

Sarah playing on the Webkinz website on Fabgrandpa’s computer.

The next day, we got up early and met Aunt Emily and cousin Spencer for breakfast at the Cracker Barrel across the street from the motel:

Sarah and Spencer coloring at Cracker Barrel

After breakfast, we had a day of shopping at the mall. Because we don’t see her very often, we tend to spoil Sarah rotten when we do. We got her some new jeans, 3 new shirts, a new purse, and a new hoodie. Then we went to Aunt Becky’s beauty shop where we all got haircuts.

Sarah getting her hair shampooed by Becky

The afternoon was spent at Monkey Joe’s, an indoor playground in town. There are lots of things to jump on, lots of room to run and work off some energy.

Monkey Joe's

The kids needed to be active, and the adults needed to rest. I was already exhausted by walking all over the mall.

Dinner that night was at Longhorn Steaks. Mmmm. FabGrandpa, Sarah,  and I were joined by Emily and her husband, Tommy, Spencer, and Becky. Just about the time desert was served, my son, Seth, called and said he was almost to the motel. So, we all hurried up so we could get back over there.

That’s my son, Seth–he is in the Air Force and lives in Maryland. The last time we saw them, we were working in Gettysburg, about 100 miles from where he lives. Owen was only two months old then.

He is now a rambunctious two year old. He is so sweet and cuddly, so much fun to be with.

Michael is now a teenager, (YIKES! I have a teenaged grandson? how the heck did that happen?)

We stayed up again, until past midnight, talking and catching up and just being with our kids. We slept late on Sunday, then the kids took the grandkids to the aquarium in Atlanta, while FabGrandpa and I went to meet Becky’s future in-laws.

I did not take pictures of Rafe’s parents, but I can tell you we had a pleasant visit. We met them at O’Charley’s for lunch, then headed over to Rafe’s house, where Becky will be living after they get married next year. His parents are very nice people, we liked them very much. And the house has a nice guest room, where FabGrandpa and I can stay when we are in town. I teased Rafe that it was big enough for a “mother-in-law” suite–it really is, but I don’t really expect to live with them.

We went back to the motel, where we met up with Seth, and his family. Then we all went over to my Mom’s for a short visit. I was ready to drop when we got back to the motel, so I went to bed “sort of” early, about 10 p.m. to get rested up for the next day.

…to be continued…